Tuesday, August 13, 2013


  By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

Zee News guest coordinator Editor called me to invite for doing the running commentary in Hindi on the Independence Day ceremony at the Red Fort Delhi on 15th August 2013 on their international network. I gladly gave my consent to be a part of the 67th Independence Day of our Bharat as I had been doing for over four decades heretofore. Indeed sometimes I did the commentary on the Akashvani, sometimes on the Doordarshan, perhaps once for the Sahara channel and for the last many years I have been doing it for the Zee News. On the Zee News network I am the monarch of all I survey and the camera focuses on me for a fairly long time and carries my voice to all corners of the globe for the entire ceremony except when the Pradhan Mantri is addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.


Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Pradhan Mantri, had unfurled the national flag, our beloved Tricolour, on 15  August 1947 at the dawn of the Independence after 190 years of the British rule in New Delhi. A special session of the Constituent Assembly was held in the Council House, now Sansad Bhawan, on 14 th August 1947 from 11 PM onwards. Dr Rajendra Prasad, the President of the Constituent Assembly had presided. Right at the beginning Dr Rajendra Prasad called upon Sucheta Kripalani to sing the National Song, VANDE MATARM, WHICH WAS HEARD WITH RAPT ATTENTION BY ALL MEMBERS INCLUDING THOSE OF THE MUSLIM LEAGUE. Jawaharlal Nehru had made his famous speech there” Tryst with Destiny” after all members had taken oath of allegiance to the new nation, to Bharat, our motherland.

The next day, on 15 August 1947, Lord Mountbatten, the first Governor General of independent India had administered the oath of office and secrecy to Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister of India in the Durbar Hall of the Viceroy’s House, now the Rashtrapati Bhawan. In the afternoon Lord Mountbatten, his lady wife, Edwina Mountbatten and Nehru the Prime Minister drove from the Raisina Hill down the King’s Way, now Raj Path, towards India Gate as the national flag hoisting was to take place in the Hexagon near the Princess Park ( now called the August Kranti Maidan) for the benefit of and participation by the citizenry. The all important people could not reach the venue of flag hoisting as the milling crowd all over left no space on the road for the State Coach driven by six horses to drive on. The Governor General, his consort, the Prime Minister and senior Defence officers stood to attention wherever they were at the appointed hour and Lord Mountbatten signaled to his ADC, standing near the flagpole, to hoist the National Flag of India and he did it dutifully.
There was no mention of a ceremony at the Red Fort on 15 August 1947. Many a commentator, including yours truly had been committing that mistake year after year glorifying the Red Fort flag hoisting by Pandit Nehru on 15 August 1947. Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. Fortunately a research paper published by the Lok Sabha secretariat crossed my eyes and I was made wise. So were our colleagues. The record was set straight and it was announced by us thereafter that the first flag hoisting at the Red Fort of the national flag by Pandit Nehru was done on 16 August 1947. The first Prime Minister had the privilege of hoisting the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort 17 times and he addressed the nation on the national day as many times. The time allotted for the speech of the Pradhan Mantri is just 20 minutes but I have yet to see a Pradan Mantri adhering to it.


Lal Bahadur Shastri unfurled the national flag at the ramparts of the Red Fort just twice. The diminutive man had risen tall in national stature after he ordered the Indian Army to cross the international border and attack both Lahore and Sialkot simultaneously. His decision worked like magic and the flamboyant Pakistan President, General Ayub Khan was forced to loosen his stranglehold on Jammu and Kashmir in the Chamb-Jaurian sector. Lal Bahadur Shastri had become the darling of the Indian nation. Alas! Untimely death of that great man in mysterious circumstances in Tashkent after he had signed an agreement with General Ayub Khan under the Soviet pressure to withdraw to pre-war location in all sectors.
We recall the great Shastri Ji for raising the morale of the Indian nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort and elsewhere when clouds of misfortune had gathered. Shastri Ji always saw a silver lining around dark clouds and gave us the slogan “JAI JAWAN  JAI KISSAN”. To get over the food shortage and stranglehold of PL 480 of the US government he exhorted the Nation to miss a meal once a week and more, if feasible. He practiced what he preached and, therefore, his words carried weight and all Indians followed his advice both in letter and spirit.


Indira Gandhi came on the scene after Shastri Ji’s sad and premature demise as a compromise candidate of the warring factions of the Congress Party. The regional satraps had chosen her because she had been known as the “ Goongi Gudiya” and lacked self confidence to answer queries and supplementary questions on the floor of the Lok Sabha. She always heaved a sigh of relief when the question hour was over without the Speaker calling upon her to face the opposition volleys.

Indira Gandhi had resilience and the more she was suppressed by satraps the more she came on her own and developed self confidence to take on the mighty men who had ridiculed her in the initial stages. As Prime Minister, she commanded the power of the State and learnt her ropes to success gradually. Whenever she was unduly hurt or harassed, be it Opposition parties in Parliament or the wily neighbor, Pakistan in the international diplomatic arena, she counter-attacked like a wounded tigress and carried the day. If one goes through the recording of her addresses to the Nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the Independence Day year after year, one will find that she grew tall as a Statesperson bit by bit and grew taller inch by inch. The friend and foe both held her in awe after she dismembered the arch-enemy of India, Pakistan in the 1971 war.
15 August 1972 – she ascended the stairs as her father used to do, like a victorious Roman General fresh from a campaign where the enemy was dissipated. By the way, the lift or elevator was built in Lal Bahadur Shastri’s time to take him on the ramparts since he had a heart condition. Now there are two elevators. The speech that she delivered after her victory over Pakistan was superb. Atal Behari Vajpayee, a Jan Sangh leader sitting on the opposition benches had likened Indira Gandhi to goddess Durga and lionized her in her hours of glory. It was well reflected in her voice, tenor, mannerism and the totality of impression of listeners was that Indira Ji has now come of age.
Indira Gandhi addressed the Nation after unfurling the National Tricolour at the ramparts of the Red Fort SIXTEEN times. Of course, it was in two instalments – eleven in her first tenure and then she lost power. Gut within two years she staged a triumphant return to power. She performed very well as the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort FIVE times, taking the tally to sixteen, a close second to her father, Pt Nehru.
Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984 snatched her from the Nation rather prematurely. The ramparts of the Red Fort missed Indira Ji on 15 August year after year. Her gait as a lioness, her elegant sari with a broad border and the way she wrapped her sari made Indira Ji a class apart. As a radio commentator I made a word picture of Indira Ji’s personality, including her sari, not forgetting the border and it made a lively word picture pleasing to listeners’ ears. I loved the whole exercise immensely. I missed her every year when I climbed up the stairs to the ramparts of the Red Fort year after year as a commentator of the Akashvani. After her sad demise, things were never the same. When I changed over to the Doordarshan at my own request, I missed making the word picture. The cameras of the TV did that job that was so dear to me.


In 1985 the Lahori Gate, the Ghoonghat and the moat looked so different. The security considerations were primary concern of the State and everything else played the second fiddle. The Guard of Honour was also vivisected into two. The Inter-Services and Police National Guard was positioned in front of the ramparts for the National  Salute and the band struck the National Anthem. A small Inter-Services and Delhi Police Guard of Honour was positioned near the small Lahori Gate well ensconced and hidden from public view by raising Kanats. Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded his mother, Indira Gandhi, took the salute and reviewed this mini guard. The glamour was gone, that is what I felt.
Everything looked and sounded so different – a kind of hush-hush atmosphere. It was the requirement of the security people. Rajiv Gandhi was not an orator and the resonance of his voice on the ramparts was missing. Of course, we accorded him due respect that ought to be given to a Prime Minister. Perhaps his staff that wrote his speech or rehearsed him lacked the verve of a trainer. No wonder one Independence Day was referred to by him as the Republic Day throughout his speech. Swatantrata Divas was replaced by the Gantantra Divas and I wonder why no one had courage to quietly show him the correction slip.

May I be permitted to skip some of the Prime Ministers who just made a debut and disappeared forever. In the Army we have a saying,” Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” But for Morarji Desai who appeared on the ramparts twice the one-timers were many like Chaudhary Charan Singh, DeveGowda, Indra Kumar Gujral and so on. Chaudhary Ji kicked up a row by saying from the ramparts that Israeli cows give good milk and the volume is satisfying. The Arab envoys protested but to no avail. Chaudhary Saheb was dead right factually.


Atal Behari Vajpaye of the Bhartiya Janata Party, is a born orator. The gift of the gab holds him in good stead. He revived the tradition of oratory and making important policy announcements from the ramparts of the Red Fort as the Prime Minister of India. Indeed his Hindi is worth emulating and many men and women joined his Fan Club hearing him roar like a tiger in command of the situation when he stood on the ramparts of the Red Fort behind the myriad mikes. Indeed Atal Ji took his own time to make a beginning, develop the theme, throw in healthy humour and gradually near the winding up operation. When he invited the assembled school children, the NCC cadets and citizenry sitting in front of the ramparts to join him in a chorus with a thunderous voice and say:  JAI HIND. The assembly of young and old responded with matching Josh or enthusiasm. Jawaharlal Nehru had started this tradition of saying Jai Hind, as was the military tradition of the Indian National Army under the leadership of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and it has been going on for 66 years.

The 67th Indpendance Day will see Dr Manmohan Singh climb up the rostrum on the ramparts the NINTH time. Some political pundits predict that perhaps this will be the last opportunity to say to the Nation what he has been briefed about.

His zeal in making friends with Pakistan, notwithstanding that enemy country’s deceit, deception and surreptitious cowardly attacks on India and pushing the Islamic terrorists into India to indulge into bloodbath like the one in Mumbai, has certainly not endeared meek Manmohan to the common man who loves Bharat. One wonders why some of his ilk may not be loving Bharat less but they love Pakistan more.
We look forward to seeing  the Indpendance Day ceremony on the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August 2014. Let us wait with Great Expectations to see and hear a new Prime Minister roar from the Red Fort ramparts and elevate the morale of the Nation and restore the Glory of the country called Bharat.

Email : sawantchitranjan@yahoo.com        Mobile:  9811173590.

Monday, August 12, 2013


                                        By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Dr Karan Singh, a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha made a candid short speech in the House throwing light on the incompetence of State Administration in handling the volatile situation in Kishtwar before9th August and thereafter too. A former Yuraj of the Hindu Dogra ruling dynasty and a Sadre Riyasat of the J&K State during the Sheikh Abdullah government, Dr Karan Singh knows the people and political under currents like nobody else. He made a true analysis by saying that the undercurrent of communal divide was always present there and he had represented the parliamentary constituency of which Kishtwar was a part for fifteen years. He deserves to be congratulated for telling the truth.
Dr Karan Singh further said in Hindi “ Agar aap samajhte hain ki gaadi wahan chal rahi hai to main bata doon ki gaadi ekdam chal nahi rahi hai.” Apparently he was referring to incompetence of the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, in general and criminal delay in handling the riots in Kishtwar effectively in particular. Dr Karan Singh’s national credentials have always stood the test of time. It was he who, as Sadre Riyasat of J&K had signed the warrant of arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 when the latter had strayed from the path of secular nationalism and had nurtured a dream of becoming the Sultan of Kashmir. Sheikh’s ideas and speeches were more communal than that of the Muslim League and he had become more anti-India than the politicians of Pakistan. He had even raised doubts about the legality of that state acceding to India.
Even Jawaharlal Nehru, a bosom friend of the rebellious Sheikh was alarmed and perforce gave a nod to his removal from the office of CM and arrest. It was Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the new Chief Minister, who fully integrated that State with the Republic of India. Omar Abdullah is the grandson of the same Sheikh Abdullah. No wonder he raises the cry of J&K reverting to the pre 1953 constitutional status. Thus he indirectly stokes the fire of separatists in their slogan for AZADI that was raised every now and then in Kishtwar before the situation flared up.
Dr Farooq Abdullah, Sheikh’s son, never took any action against the unruly and riotous Kashmiris who burnt the Indian National Flag and raised pro-Pakistan slogans in his presence time and again. He never came down on the separatists and pro-Pakistan elements among Kashmiri Muslims with a heavy hand.
Going back to the partition days in 1947 when J&K was still an independent territoty under Maharajah Sir Hari Singh, father of Dr Karan Singh, when the Muslim troops of his State Forces in Gilgit and Chitral has revolted against His Highness on communal grounds and hoisted the Pakistan flag. Thus a large part of the State was handed over to Pakistan on a silver platter by the Maharajah’s Muslim troops. It was rank communalism.
In the same year when Jinnah launched the Pushtoon and other tribals, officered by Pakistan army officers,  in an outrageous attack of the Maharajah’s J&K, the Muslim troops of Sir Hari Singh revolted against the Hindu ruler and joined hands with the raiding tribal Muslims. Wasn’t it a proof of communalism that the Namak Haram soldiers joined hands with the invading enemy?
In 1989-90 terrorism of Islamic Jihadis peaked. Many senior judges and bureaucrats belonging to the Kashmiri Pundit community were killed by Muslims. The hate-Hindu campaign of rabid communal forces was crysal clear when terrifying slogans were raised from mosques on microphones asking the Kashmiri Pundits to quit Kashmir. They were threatened with rape, loot and genocide. Almost all the self respecting Kashmiri Pundits left the Kashmir valley and moved to Jammu, Delhi and other safe places. None of the so-called secular Muslims of Kashmir came to their rescue. The vacant houses, temples and other places of Hindu worship were burnt down. Who will say that there is brotherhood between the Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir valley? This kind of brotherhood and secularism is just a myth to lull the Government of India into sleep and allow the inflow of Indian tax-payers money flow into the pockets of communal Kashmiris.
When the Hindu houses and shops burnt by Muslim mobs of hooligans, the district police, civil administration and even the State’s Home Minister, Sajjad Kitchloo were just mute spectators. They did not swing into action to douse the fire of communal frenzy. Why? When accusing fingers of partisan attitude and of inciting mobs to loot and plunder, commit arson and murder were raised, he had little option but to resign. It is reported that the Governor, Shri N.N. Vohra has accepted his resignation on the recommendation of the Chief Minister.
By the way no arrests of murderers and arsonists were made from 9th August to 12th August when Parliament discuss the Kishtwar mayhem and put the Central government on back foot. It was only then that the State Administration swung into action and made some arrests.
When Rome was burning Nero was fiddling. In J&K when Kishtwar was burning Omar Abdullah was tweeting. He derives comfort in waging a tweet war with the BJP leaders rather than take action on the Intelligence inputs about simmering situation in Kishtwar. Because of his inaction against the separatist elements, the latter have grown from bold to bolder and preach anti-India philosophy. On the pubic and private walls in downtown Kishtwar, posters of condemned traitors like Maqbool Bhatt and the hanged attacker of Sansad Bhawan were posted and the traitors were eulogized. When the nationalist Hindus protested, the large crowd of Muslims from Eidgah came down with a heavy hand on them. The teenage son of the President of Kishtwar Bahujan Samaj Party president was brutally killed. The goons pumped as many as seventeen bullets into his body. The police remained an inactive spectator. The district administration and the Minister of State for Home, Sajjad Kitchloo were gripped with inertia. Or were they a part of deeper and sinister conspiracy to cleanse Kishtwar of the Hindus?
An impartial inquiry by an unimpeachable individual or a body of civil society must probe the sisnister Kishtwar episode  to find out the truth. The blame must be laid at the door of culprits whosoever they may be. Further those who have suffered the loss of loved ones and whose property has been burnt or destroyed must be compensated adequately.
It is heartening to note that Shri P Chidambaram, officiating Union Home Minister, has assured the Indian nation that the events of 1990 when the Kashmiri Pundits were hounded out by communalist Muslims would not be allowed to be repeated in Kishtwar. Thus the ghost of anti-national conspiracy to cleanse Kishtwar of the Hindu community has been laid at rest. Let us hope and trust that what Shri Chidambaram said were not mere words but a solemn promise made to the Parliament and the Indian Nation and the Central government would now swing into action to keep the Minister’s word.
Email : sawantchitranjan@yahoo.com       Mobile:  9811173590.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


                                      By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Vishwanath Ji was uprooted from his home and hearth at the age of 27. He was born in Lahore in 1920, brought up in an Arya Samajist home, imbibed the old world charm in company of poets and men of letters who worshipped the Muse irrespective of the Faith their families professed. And yet he lost everything that he had stood for, for the last quarter of a century plus. He saw his literary real crumble like a house of cards, friends turned foes, worshippers of the poetic culture turned killers overnight. The young man who had inherited the profession of publication from his late lamented father, Mahashay Rajpal Ji, a martyr for the cause of freedom of expression, of which right to publish was an integral and unalienable part, burnt the midnight oil to rank among the first and the foremost. Alas! Partition of India at the behest of vested interests raised a unbreakable wall against which our young man’s hopes were dashed.
Young Vishwanath, all of six, had seen his father, Shaheed Rajpal Ji breathe his last after being stabbed by an illiterate Muslim, coached and trained by bigoted Mullahs. By exercising the right of freedom to publish and actually letting a booklet based on Truth see the daylight, Rajpal Ji was dragged to various courts of Lahore but was eventually acquitted with honour by the Punjab High Court. Vishwanath Ji had stood by his father and even penned his thoughts on how lonely his dad had been in fighting the legal case for years.
Vishwanath Ji had inherited the grit and determination of his fighter-father and in his young mind was sown the seed of “ rebellion against oppression” and he let the seed germinate and blossom into a banyan tree. For him to become an independent publisher was the best course of action, that is karma of the rightful order. What better stage there could be to carry on the Mission of Truth than the Arya Samaj. He chose just that. As a matter of fact he had inherited that too from his father too in ample measure.
Lahore was the citadel of the Arya Samaj and Dayanand Anglo Vedic school and college. On the sad demise of Swami Dayanand Saraswati at Ajmer on the Diwali evening in 1883, the Aryas of Punjab made a decision to open educational institutions charged with the mission of Dayanand to carry forward his principles and practices to groom the youth for future. Indeed a correct decision it was. The DAV School and later DAV College did see many young men pass out of its portals who were second to none in patriotism, scholastic and administrative achievements and what have you. Vishwanath Ji was one of them who turned out to be a shining star in the firmament.
Linguistics was his forte. He was equally at home in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. A voracious reader, a prolific writer, Vishwanath Ji was fond of attending poetic symposia both in Hindi and Urdu. He would compose, recompose until he was fully satisfied with his own finished product. Generally speaking, the audience applauded him and boosted his morale on stage. Just before our motherland was vivisected and that factory of Islamic terror called Pakistan was born, the poetic symposia in Lahore were sometimes overladen with lines that eulogized communal philosophy in political and literary writings and speeches but Vishwanath Ji kept aloof. He was an Arya patriot and fought for the causes that were so dear to Swami Dayanand Saraswati but he had no rancor for men of other religions who did not see eye to eye with the philosophy of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
I recall an incident in connection with presentation of Merit Awards to writers of eminence on rolls of the DAV Colleges in Delhi and elsewhere. He had written to me to compere the function being held in honour of Shaheed Rajpal Ji. I immediately accepted the offer and prepared my notes of compering accordingly. Just at the eleventh hour, as the honoured guests were being seated on the dais, he walked over to me and said” Please see that you do not overplay your criticism of the assassin and his co-religionists who had assassinated my father”. I just smiled. Mahashay Vishwanath Ji was a changed man. He had mellowed a lot and did not want to associate with rabble rousers. The time for VAJRA PRAHAR ON OPPONENTS OF VEDIC DHARMA WAS OVER. The era for winning them over with love and compassion has begun. The perception had undergone a discernible change.
Arya Samaj was his First Love and he stuck to his Vedic guns till he breathed his last. I always addressed him as Mahashay Vishwanath. He did not resent and I carried on with this form of address for years. He was almost fourteen years senior to me in age but never let it be reflected in our interaction. A chat or a discussion on a Vedic topic or on a political subject always ended up without any conclusion. But never did he raise his voice to denote disapproval of a point, an issue or the manner of delivery. Having lived in Lahore in the pre-partition days when the Indian youth was sucked in by the freedom movement, he just could not afford to remain untouched by the political TSUNAMI against the British Raj. As far as I know Vishwanath Ji was not a part of the Satyagrah movement but he did admire Mahatma Gandhi. Indeed that was a point of disagreement between him and me because I had several reasons to blame Gandhiji for all the troubles that the Hindus had suffered. We may keep the issue in reserve for another day used to be our finale on the issue.
Vishwanath Ji was an enthusiastic Ved pracharak too in his youth in the rural areas of undivided Punjab. After alighting the railway train at Multan, he hired an Ekka on a sharing basis to go to a remote village where an Arya Samaj activity had been organized. As they entered the interior of the backward rural area, came melodious singing sound of Punjabi women and the song was in Hindi promoting spinning wheel as harbinger of SWATANTRATA. Vishwanath Ji was very pleasantly surprised to hear a Hindi song in a backward area where even Punjabi was not correctly spoken. Of course, he gave the credit for this awakening to Gandhiji. On hearing this anecdote, I had little option but to go in for a pucca Maun Vrat.
Vishwanath Ji was a born editor. He took to editing as fish takes to water. When He and his brothers shifted their book shop and publishing outfit to Delhi from Lahore, teething troubles were experienced. He and other members of the family took it in the normal stride of life. With hard work, customer care, literary drives, launching Pocket Book edition with his brother Dina Nath and many such steps produced positive results. Rajpal and Sons made a name for themselves and were back in business in the right way.
Arya Samaj, DAV School and College, Lahore left many indelible impressions on the personality of Vishwanath Ji. His love of Hindi always remained undiluted. Even as a student of the DAV School, Lahore he had opted for Hindi and Sanskrit. This held him in good stead in later life. When he wished to please the Muse, it was Hindi language that he chose to write poems in. ANTARA is a book containing his new poems in Hindi.
 He mentioned to me that it was opposition of the Arya Samaj to casteism that prevented him and his brothers from adding the caste name as a suffix. Just VISHWANATH. That was it. Commendable indeed. We loved him for that. Today we miss him more than ever before. His departure from this world is forever. When his soul enters a new body, he will have another opportunity to complete the mission that remained unfulfilled in this life.
 He remained attached to the DAV group of institutions in one way or the other. He remained Vice-President of the DAV College Management Committee till he breathed his last. His reverence for Mahatma Hansraj Ji was next to that for Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. He preached the Vedic Dharn, he practiced the Vedic Dharm and he wielded his pen for propagating the Vedic Dharm.
Email:  sawantchitranjan@yahoo.com         Mobile: 9811173590


Saturday, February 9, 2013


09 February 2013

·                   1AUM
·                                bravery  beyond  borders of BHARAT       
·                        By Brigadier Chitranjkan Sawant,VSM
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TOYO, TAKLAKOT, Tibet – that is the hallowed place where stands a dilapidated Samadhi of a brave man called General Zorawar Singh, a Kahluria Rajput of the 19th century India. 

He was born in 1786 in the Kangra district but his bravery blossomed in the Dogra army of Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu. He is known not only for his generalship but also statesmanship. He fought and won battles in far off foreign lands of Baltistan in the West and Tibet in the East. He annexed the foreign territories conquered by the Dogra army under his leadership and made them a part of the Jammu Raj. Ladakh is now a part of India, thanks to bravery and sagacity of General Zorawar Singh.
Never has an individual king or captain fought and won so many ferocious battles in foreign lands located far away from the home base and eventually made them a part and parcel of his motherland as was done by General Zorawar Singh. 

What a shame that not many of his compatriots know about his adventures as not many historians of repute wrote or ballad singers sung in his honour so that his name and deeds are etched in the hearts and minds of the posterity. His last resting place, the Samadhi or Chorten (in Tibetan language) looks askance at the Indian pilgrims who are on way to or are  returning from holy Mount Kailash but a mute stare of helplessness is all that it receives in return.
Young Zorawar took interest in the management of his ancestral lands in Kangra and always thought of ways and means of improving the agricultural production. 

He was a precocious administrator right from the beginning. Notwithstanding small agricultural holdings that Zorawar’s family possessed, he took pains to ensure that there was no encroachment on it nor an attempt to effect adverse possession to be recorded by the village official.
One of Zorawar’s cousins had an eye on a part of the common holding and made himself busy with making evil designs to grab what was not his. Zorawar was a man of integrity and expected others too to be clean in their dealings. Since the cousin concerned was bent upon playing foul in disposal of the ancestral land, a fight was bound to take place. It did. Zorawar had the better of his cousin in a sword fight and the rogue met his end. The friends and relatives of the killed cousin wished to frame Zorawar legally and have him incarcerated.
As the legal proceedings were likely to go against the interests of young Zorawar who was just a teenager, the young man decided to flee his ancestral village to escape legal proceedings and rigours of a jail life. He went to Haridwar, the famous place of pilgrimage of Hindus of all shades and hues.
Some contemporary historians of sorts believed that Zorawar landed in Haridwar, one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for the Hindus, more for personal atonement than to escape the long arms of law. He was a religious minded straight forward fellow and went to the place of pilgrimage to pray for a Divine Pardon. He did not want to carry this baggage of guilt resulting from the unintentional killing of a cousin all his life. The earlier atonement of sin was done the better it would be. 
It was, therefore, this religious atonement of sin rather than escaping arms of law that found him in a different garb in Haridwar.
Destiny had better things in store for young Zorawar than he himself had planned. In Haridwar, Zorawar came across Rana Jaswant Singh of Doda, Jammu and the Rana saw in Zorawar the great spark of military genius and leadership that would win laurels both in war and peace. The Rana took young Zorawar to Doda along with him with the intention of training him as a soldier. He did precisely that. Young Zorawar came out of the training phase with flying colours. 
He showed a keen interest in Logistics and specialised in the effective handling of Logistics as a force multiplier in war. His brilliant ideas in this field were appreciated by military experts of this branch of military strategy. What a pity, the same Zorawar, as a General and a matured and experienced commander in the battle field, lost the war at village TOYO in Tibet because of failure of Logistics in severe winter when soldiers burnt the Woodstock of their rifles and other firearms to keep themselves warm in the absence of regular fuel. Reinforcements and other essential supplies had failed to reach and the inevitable happened. More of that a little later.
While handling Logistics in Doda, young Zorawar had a chance meeting and a chat on effecting economy with the boss of the show, Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu. The new proposals for bringing in economy to save State exchequer money, put forward by young Zorawar was appreciated by the Raja and he gave a green signal to implement it. Not only that; young Zorawar was made incharge of the new project that he handled with aplomb and won laurels. Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu was mighty happy with Zorawar and made him Governor of Doda-Reasi-Kistwar area and conferred on him the rank of a Wazir.
Wazir Zorawar Singh did not look back after that and his march forward was onward and onward.
Chandragupt Maurya and Samudragupt were emperors of India who had moved their forces in Central Asia, defeated foreign armies and even married princesses of Greek royal household. The distant drums of India had not been heard in Central Asia thereafter. It was left to Wazir Zorawar Singh to march there with his combined armies of Dogras, Ladakhis and other foreigners professing faiths different from the Hindu Dharma and yet make them a homogenous fighting outfit that engaged and defeated in battles commanders and common soldiers of various Muslim principalities of Baltistan.
I shall give a short pause to my narrative to offer bouquets to Vazir Zorawar Singh and his Dogra soldiers. Loyalty was a remarkable factor in winning battles in Baltistan. It was a two-way traffic, soldiers to the commander and back from the commander to the soldiers. The deep sense of loyalty made them victorious wherever they went and fought. The TRUST built between them over a period of time saw them through thick and thin. There were acts of chivalry beyond the call of duty. For them the Dogra kingdom of Dogra Desh with Maharajah Gulab Singh at the helm of affairs, was everything. They hesitated not in sacrificing their lives at the altar of victory in battle. 
No wonder, entire Baltistan was theirs and they marched in victory processions from town to town; from principality to principality.
Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar and adjoining areas of Baltistan, far  away from their homeland, Dogra Desh, came under the direct rule of Maharajah Gulab Singh whose flag flew from the hills and dales of scenic surroundings. The Dogras, thanks to the capable military leadership of General Zorawar Singh, were monarchs of all they surveyed. The Company Bahadur of the Englishmen had given their seal of approval to the unfurling of the Dogra flag in the distant land but had cautioned them to be vary of the Russian bear that was on the prowl right there. In other words, General Zorawar Singh’s military operations were restricted within the Lakshman Rekha drawn by the British overlords.
It was a wonder of wonders. Simple Dogra men whose main profession was agriculture in villages and who lived below snow line were now conquerors and masters of Baltistan moving near snow line and practising their strategy of Loyalty, Trust, Training in peace to win wars and Will to Achieve Aim, come rain come shine. The Dogra army of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu, under the capable leadership of Vazir Zorawar Singh  made history and had become a force to reckon with. 
Even their own kinsmen of the Lahore Durbar received a complaint from Mehan Singh, Governor of Kashmir under the Sikh rule, that prayed for putting a stop to Zorawar Singh’s campaign beyond Baltistan lest the interest of the Sikh kingdom was harmed. The Lahore durbar forwarded the complaint to Maharaja Gulab Singh who, reading between the lines, ordered Vazir Zorawar Singh to freeze in his tracks in Baltistan. The orders were obeyed.
Vazir Zorawar Singh had replaced the ruler of Skardu, Ahmad Shah with his son, Muhammad Shah and the arrangement gained popular support. The new ruler started paying Rs7,000 per annum to Maharajah  Gulab Singh of Jammu as a tribute and accepted the suzerainty of the Dogras.General Zorawar Singh built a new fort at Skardu and positioned a contingent of Dogra soldiers to keep an eye on the rebellious elements of Baltistan. It showed the confluence of military and political acumen of General Zorawar Singh because of which Baltistan region including Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar were a part of India. Of course, Pakistan gained control of these Northern Areas surreptitiously in August 1947 with the connivance of the rogue elements among the British officers and Muslim troops among Maharajah’s army.
Wazir Zorawar Singh despatched a contingent of the Dogra force under Wazir Lakhpat to move further up and capture Fort Astor and that was done without meeting much resistance from the Muslim forces who were already under an awesome spell of the Dogra superiority. The Darad raja was taken prisoner but had to be released later under orders of the Lahore durbar of the Sikh kingdom.
The genius of Zorawar manifested itself in his planning and preparation for an eastward march towards Tibet since the Westward March had been blocked by the Lahore Durbar and the British Governor General sitting in Fort William, Calcutta too was a bit uneasy about the Westward march of the Dogras. 
Another of the six  Expeditions of General Zorawar Singh to the high lands of Ladakh and the plateau of Tibet was undertaken.
The stocky Dogras climbed up the high hills from Reasi in the Jammu region to the place of origin of Suru river, traversing Zanskar made it to Leh, capital of the little Tibet, that is Ladakh. The rag tag army of Namgyal, Gyalpo of Ladakh was no match to the battle seasoned Dogras of Zorawar Singh. 
The military skirmish was over before it began and the rebels disciplined for hobnobbing with defiant Botis of Baltistan. With this mission accomplished, Zorawar turned to Tibet, untrampled by foreign feet so far. Travelling westward on horseback, on foot in an unknown land through large tracts of barren land and small hamlets of strange men and women professing faith of the Buddha, the Dogras reached Taklakot or Purang near holy Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar. General Zorawar Singh and his compatriots, not forgetting new Ladakhi and Balti allies, had a Darshan of kailash Parvat and took a dip in lake Mansarovar. Spiritual contentment was writ large on their faces. Little did anyone realise that this was the last holy dip and Darshan as death and destruction were lurking nearby.
General Zorawar Singh had headed such a successful campaign in Ladakh, onward in Baltistan and back in Ladakh that he and his fellow soldiers did not know how to thank their stars. In his own mind the General was planning a much bigger campaign to an unknown land to fly the Dogra flag there. He was awaiting reinforcements from homeland and also a word of Shabash from Maharajah Gulab Singh for achieving the near impossible. He and his men got a pat on the back but no clearance for moving to places unknown until they had a concrete campaign plan with a sound back up of men and material.
Winter fell. There was an early snowfall. Severe cold, frosty winds, lack of fuel for warming men and armaments took their toll on life and limbs. The bayonet strength fell from day to day. Food for men and fodder for the animals was in short supply. The soldiers burnt Woodstock of rifles and other weapons to keep the human body warm. And yet frostbite did not spare the sturdy dogras from Doda, Reasi, Jammu and even Botis and Ladakhis. The soldiers’morale was in their boots.
Meanwhile, the Chinese and Tibetans had assembled a sizeable force in the Taklakot region. Being natives of the place, the cold did not damage their body and minds so much as it did to Dogras. At an opportune moment the enemy struck. In the fierce battle that ensued, a bullet pierced through the right shoulder of the General but he picked up his sword with the left hand. A Tibetan horseman came charging and pierced his lance through the chest of the brave chief; who breathed his last on the battlefield. It was the month of December in the year 1841.
A large number of soldiers of the Dogra army met their glorious end fighting on a foreign soil in inclement weather where it was difficult to distinguish friend from foe. It was a sad end to a glorious career. A Samadhi was made with large loose stones and ashes kept there. The Samadhi is known to the local people as “Sing-ba Ka Chorten”. On my way to holy Mount Kailash, I stood in front of the Samadhi to pay respectful homage to a great son of India who lies there, unwept and unsung. He did so much for Bharat Mata and isn’t it the turn of Sons of the Brave to honour the Brave?
The silence around the Samadhi in the absence of an answer is deafening indeed!
The Tibetans, being superstitious, cut small pieces of flesh from the general’s dead body to keep in their houses so that Zorawar-like chivalry was passed on among the Tibetan people from generation to generation.
The sad news was broken to Maharajah Gulab Singh in Peshawar by Commissioner Lawrence during a campaign against the tribal rebels. He hastily assembled an army of brave Dogras and despatched them towards Tibet to punish the guilty. The Dogras carried the day in a military engagement near Chushul in Ladakh and killed the enemy general in battle to avenge the death of dear old compatriot, Zorawar Singh, bravest of the brave.
Soldiers never die; they just fade away – an age-old saying is still doing rounds of military barracks when a hero who fell in battle is recalled. I must hasten to add that General Zorawar Singh is neither dead nor has faded away. The great Patriot is still with us and shall be with all Indians till eternity.
General Zorawar Singh always earned the respect of both the victorious friend and the vanquished foe. In battle he fought to defend the values of life as enshrined in our Dharma. His honesty and integrity went unchallenged till his last breath.
In books of history and research papers, General Zorawar Singh is rightly called : Napoleon of India.
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